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Two Negros species recorded in Mindoro

Negros and Mindoro are among of the Philippines’ islands with most number of endemic species, along with Cebu, Panay, Camiguin and other smaller islands.

This is very interesting because these islands harbor island endemic, meaning species that are restricted only to a specific island, because of the geographic historical formation of the Philippines Archipelago.  There are also species formerly thought to occur only in one particular island, but later on, were discovered in another island, too. This is particularly true for the Negros bleeding-heart pigeon that was once believed to be a Negros endemic species until it was similarly discovered in Panay.

Very recently, two Philippine endemic species occurring in Negros were also found in Mindoro Island, based on the field survey conducted by the Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc. The Green-faced parrot finch was only known to occur in mainland Luzon and Negros Island before its discovery in Mount Siburanin Sablayan town, Occidental Mindoro province in July 2013.

Another Philippine endemic, the Orange-fingered myotis, formerly known to occur only in Luzon mainland, Palawan, Sibuyan and Negros, was recorded in Naujan Lake National Park in Oriental Mindoro province.

These two species are among the 18 newly recorded fauna of the MBCFI in Mindoro, that were discovered in the Apo Reef Natural Park, Mount Calavite Wildlife Sanctuary, Naujan Lake National Park and Ilin Islands, all in the island of Mindoro.

The survey of the MBCFI also yielded two new records for the Philippines, the migratory Asian paradise flycatcher and the Black bulbul, which have been recorded in the Apo Reef Natural Park in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro in March 2013. This finding further affirms the importance of Mindoro as a migratory bird area of the Philippines, a status that is likewise true for Negros, since numerous migratory birds have been recently noted from the southern part of Negros Occidental.

Aside from their fascinating and aesthetic features, birds are very important in maintaining ecological balance.  They act as predators to other species, seed dispersal agents, and indicators on the state and health of our ecosystems, among other significant values.  Unfortunately, many endemic bird species are hunted for their meat, and they are also subject for wildlife trading, primarily intended as household pets or exhibit materials in zoos. But the greatest threat to our birds is the habitat destruction and conversion into other purposes.

Habitat destruction is one of the major factors why many endemic species in Negros are already at the brink of extinction in the wild.  In fact, a good number of species found in the island are already included in the Red List of Threatened Species of the IUCN-World Conservation Union and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. These include the Negros bleeding heart, species of hornbills, and the lost Negros fruit dove, just to name a few. 

Many of the lowland-dwelling birds in Negros are already endangered, because the island has already lost much of its lowland forests.  It is therefore very important that forest restoration shall be undertaken in degraded lowland forests of Negros to possibly avoid the extinction of any species from this biodiversity important area of the Philippines.  Much more, there is a need to enhance forest protection initiatives in the island, because the remaining forests in both provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental are not yet fully secured from destructive activities.*

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